Paying for my surgery actually started out Friday 13 September 2013 at the surgeon’s office. I kind of had a feeling that the surgery was going to happen so I came prepared for the worse case scenario. In the event that he wanted to push forward with surgery I would be needing to pay my insurance deductible at his office. The inevitable happened and when I was checking out after my appointment I was given a packet for a pre-op assessment to make sure I was able to have surgery. The girl at the front desk printed out my balance due and asked how I wanted to take care of it. I was a bit sticker shocked because the balance due was $1,108.76 and I was set back just a bit. I reach for my wallet, set it on the counter, and proceeded to count out 12 one hundred-dollar bills. When I went to hand it to her she explained they do not take cash. Well, this was an awkward moment. I explained that I will go to the bank and deposit the cash into my checking account therefore being able to use my debit card to make the payment. It was agreed and she set my paperwork to the side. I went to the bank and did my bidding only to return back to the doctor’s office to make my payment. Finally I am called up to the window and started the process once again. After a bit I’m paid up and have a zero dollar balance. Afterwords I went to my family practice for my pre-op appointment, gave blood to the vampire, had my 12 point ekg, and discussed everything with the doctor. All is well, they printed everything for me, and I headed back to the surgeon’s office to give them the paperwork to expedite the process. They will just have to wait for the blood results which they should get in today.
Well, yesterday was my hospital registration appointment. At this appointment we discussed my surgery, discussed my insurance, and what I could and couldn’t do the morning of the surgery. Then I was asked to wait back out in the waiting room of the surgery center. After about 20 minutes I was called back to the lady doing the insurance who informs me that I needed to take care of my balance at this point. Balance? How do I have a balance of anything since I haven’t done anything and neither have they. The she explained that yes my deductible had been met, however my co-insurance payment needed to be paid in advance for the hospital since I have an 80%/20% split coverage. Meaning the first 80% is covered and the 20% is due from me. Apparently the hospital gets theirs in advance nowadays, who knew. She presented me with my balance due, $786.46 is what they needed me to pay at that point in time. I presented her with cash, $800.00, and she replied that they don’t accept cash payments over $100.00. Back to the bank I went to make another deposit. I returned to make the payment and was given my zero balance receipt.
The whole “we don’t accept cash” thing really blows my mind because they won’t accept check either. Not everyone has credit cards or debit cards for their checking account. Then what? What do those people do. I try to use my debit bank card as little as possible since I like to pay in cash. We keep enough money in our checking account to pay bills, which 99% of those are paid on-line using my Wells Fargo bill pay options. My wife and I have direct deposit because that is the only option our employers give to us. I usually go down and withdraw what will not be needed for bills. I sock most of it away, call it my personal savings account which is always available to me for whatever I need it to be available for. I can only imagine what bills will come in after my surgery and after the insurance claims. So far I’m close to $1800.00 into it and my surgery hasn’t even happened yet because it is tomorrow. I have been trying to understand for a long time why businesses don’t accept cash, they want it on a card or financed and I hate both of those options. I have discussed before about myself and the cash options in life and it would appear that hospitals and surgeons are no different that car dealerships or other places that require heavily on financing. Piss on all that because I don’t need to pay the extra costs when I can pay for something upfront. Why? Because then it is mine and I don’t “owe” anyone anything down the road. I have been debt (credit card, mortgage, car payments, ect) for about 7 years now and I love every minute of it.
I guess I wrote this little post because the last week or so has really humored me. Everyone wants money to be paid to them but they don’t accept cash. Isn’t cash dollars our currency still? I don’t think our currency is made out of plastic yet. One day maybe, but as I look in my wallet I see cash and my driver’s license. The only other plastic in there are my insurance cards and bank card. I don’t want that to change. Yes, as I am told, times have changed. Eventhough, shouldn’t I still be able to make purchases with cold hard green cash? You would be surprised to how many times that answer is a stone cold no. I know one thing for sure, I will never give money to credit card companies or finance companies ever again. Sure, never seems like a pretty definite term, and I mean it. But, as a realist all I can actually say is I will do my absolute damnedest to never be owned by a credit card company or finance company. Why? Because I don’t want to live my life that way, nobody should have to. But, free now and pay out of your ass at a later time seems very appealing to so many people. I used to be one of them.
(both pictures borrowed from the internet using keyword searches)